National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver on Thursday issued the most definitive statement to date that the 2017 All-Star Game will be moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, if a law barring people from using the public facilities of the opposite sex is not repealed.
“We’ve been, I think, crystal clear a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event,” Mr. Silver said at the Associated Press Sports Editors’ commissioner meetings.
Earlier in the day, on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike,” Mr. Silver characterized the ultimatum as “constructive engagement.”
“They know what’s at stake in terms of the All-Star Game,” he said. “But at least at the moment, constructive engagement on our part is the best way to go as opposed to putting a gun to their head and saying ‘do this or else.’”
The NBA previously indicated that the status of the game was uncertain, after North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB2 into law last month, a law the gay rights movement calls discriminatory toward transgender people.
The law says separated male and female public facilities such as bathrooms and showers must be segregated on the basis of biological sex, not gender identification.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin praised Mr. Silver for taking a strong stand in his group’s favor.
“Commissioner Silver’s comments are crystal clear: If Governor McCrory, Senator Berger, and state lawmakers do not act immediately to repeal their deeply discriminatory HB 2 law, North Carolina will lose the 2017 All-Star Game, costing the state and regional businesses millions of dollars.”
Mr. McCrory, a Republican, contends the law is aimed at public safety and privacy rights, particularly for women and children who do not want to share intimate facilities with men.
More than 100 major corporations, largely based in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, have denounced the law as discriminatory. Entertainers such as Bruce Springsteen and Tracy Morgan have canceled shows in the state in response to the measure.